First adult mosquitoes with Wolbachia released in Port Vila, Vanuatu

The first releases of adult mosquitoes in Port Vila this week marked an important step towards the implementation of the World Mosquito Program’s Wolbachia method in Vanuatu.

At the official event held at the Chief’s Nakamal (a traditional meeting place in Vanuatu), the Minister of Health, Jack Norris Kalmet, and the Australian Deputy High Commissioner, Susan Ryle, released the first mosquitoes with safe and natural Wolbachia bacteria. Mosquitoes with Wolbachia have a reduced ability to transmit viruses to people, decreasing the risk of Zika, dengue and chikungunya outbreaks.

The WMP team in Vanuatu have been busy recently, working with local communities to distribute information about the WMP’s Wolbachia method and answer questions from community members. The WMP has received widespread support for its Wolbachia method in Vanuatu and endorsement from an independent Community Reference Group.

Over the next few months, WMP team members and local volunteers will continue to release mosquitoes with Wolbachia, between Mele maat village and Etas. The team will monitor and evaluate the mosquito population, to ensure that mosquitoes with Wolbachia are successfully establishing in the local mosquito population.

With funding and support from the Australian Government’s innovationXchange, the WMP is working with the Ministry of Health (Vanuatu) and the Vanuatu Red Cross Society to implement its innovative Wolbachia method in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Learn more about our Wolbachia method.